Future Phases

According to the restoration program financial status, it is necessary to get additional funds to finance the future remaining works according to the list of priorities and to assure a smooth implementation until the completion of all needed works. The next priority works include the restoration of the Church stone columns including their capitals, Shaft, Bases and paintings on columns, the restoration of the remaining external stone surfaces, the restoration of the internal stone floor and the restoration of the floor mosaic as described briefly in the next three Headlines:

Columns and Columns paints

As mentioned in Phase IV, a restoration of a full column included the paint was completed in October, 2016 as a sample to encourage more donors to participate and contribute in the restoration program. However, the basilica of the Church which consists of a long, rectangular central hall divided by four longitudinal rows of columns creating a central nave and side aisles, transept, Apse, and two corners. The Church has 50 Corinthian columns beside 10 locations where there are only stone capitals, where, 32 of these columns have paints (Crusader paintings of saints, kings and the Virgin and Child).

 

The capital and column surface is uniformly affected by an incoherent and partially coherent, superficial deposit of atmospheric particulate, while cracks, micro-cracks and lacks appear in specific places, previous interventions for restoration consisted of filling with mortar, stone reconstruction of missing parts by using the same constituent limestone and repainting of the carved stony capitals.

After the restoration of capitals and columns, intervention plan is to continue with the removal of the protective system applied to the column paintings and with restoration of the stone columns. Then, coherent and incoherent deposits will be removed, the surfaces cleaned and the unsuitable fillings replaced by more appropriate fillings. In the end the paint films will be consolidated and subjected to proper interventions of restoration and protection.

Each phase of restoration will be preceded by tests aimed at choosing the most appropriate materials and products to be used and to define the intervention methodologies, with particular reference to pre-consolidation and consolidation, cleaning and filling.

 

Basilica stone floor

The floor of the basilica at central naves, northern and southern lateral naves are currently tiled with local hard red stone, about 80cm below the stone floor level, visible under protective wooden covers, are the remains of the marvelous mosaic floor of Constantine’s Church. The floor of the northern, southern and central apses is still tiled with white and gray marble. This kind of stone was used throughout the Church during the Middle Ages but that was removed in 1553-5. 

 

The basilica has around 1274m2 of stone tiles. The stone floor surface is affected by an incoherent and partially coherent, superficial deposit of atmospheric particulate. In the basilica, there are cracks and lacks, while in the northern apse area the marble leaves appear widely cracked due to the anthropogenic damage.

The stone floor restoration works will including the following sub-tasks: Detecting the state of conservation, test execution for various phases of the operation, mechanical removal of incoherent deposits, removal of superficial coherent deposits, mechanical and/or chemical removal of fillings executed during previous operations with materials which by nature may interfere with stone or which may have lost their conservative or aesthetical function, filling with mortar in cases of splits, fractures, application of a new substrate screed based on natural hydraulic lime, whit selected graded aggregates, restoration of the ancient marble slabs by restoring of stone surface cohesion in case of breakdown and the last intervention to apply protection layer aimed to slow their deterioration. The application of each of the mentioned interventions will be specifically decided based on a comprehensive survey and detecting the state of conservation for each tile.

 

Floor Mosaic

The last stage of the intervention will be the floor mosaics; the first step will be the removal of superficial incoherent deposit from the mosaic surface, contextual to the blocking of loose tesserae and to the pre- consolidation of the tesserae and of the bedding mortar followed by the consolidation of preparatory mortar layers, the disinfection and the removal of unsuitable fillings. The interventions will proceed with the cleaning and the extraction of soluble salts and finally with a new filling and some biocide treatment. Each phase of restoration will be documented by graphic and photographic documentations of the works.
The idea of exposing the extraordinary mosaic floor still hidden below the modern floor is currently under evaluation in order to make the hidden mosaics visible to visitors and scholars especially in the nave where a suitable glass floor specially designed to replace marble slabs and wooden covers.